Tag Archives: food

A prayer for food

A prayer for food
Nourishing God,
we thank you for food
good, safe food
that strengthens our bodies
for the living of these days.
Remind us that
not all your children
have the food they need to thrive.
Inspire us to share.
Guide us to remake economic systems
so people can provide for themselves
and everyone have enough
of the abundance you create.
In the name of the one
who became known to his followers
in the breaking of the bread.
Amen.

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SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge Day 2

snap_logoFive emerging random observations that need further reflection after two days:

1. I have had a number of conversation online and in person about the SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge. I think that is part of the point. A big part of the point. Friends and colleagues have affirmed the challenge and raised serious questions about the challenge. We also talk about hunger and poverty and what we can do to end them. We need to have those conversations more deliberately and to act on the ideas we have.

2. My colleague J. Herbert Nelson, director of the Presbyterian Washington Office notes that:

We engage the SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge as Presbyterians to claim the biblical truth that God has given us enough. Our waste and greed is the source of scarcity for many in our nation and world.

I agree with that. But I also know that I need to do a better job – when I cut my waste and my usage – of directing those resources to help others and challenge the existing system. I have work to do.

3. Over these first two days, I have found it easier to avoid overeating by focusing on the amount I have to spend and the reality of my brothers and sisters who face even greater challenges daily than I do when I focus on the number of calories I am eating. Not sure what that means but I do need to ponder how it might into future actions and self-care.

4. I sent emails to my Representative and Senators today telling them that I am on the challenge and asking what they are doing and what more they plan to do to end poverty and hunger. However they respond, I plan to ask further questions.

5. Three ideas are emerging about follow up actions. One is to decrease my use of meat and eat lighter for the sake of the planet and to share the enough that God has given. I ordered a vegetarian cookbook a few moments ago. A second is to identify an amount to spend each week and stick to that amount. The third is to become more creative in my food purchase – to use farmers’ markets and locally grown foods. Given where I am starting on that one, it won’t be hard to make progress.

What do you think? Whether you are on the challenge or not, what do you think?

See you along the Trail.

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SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge: the menu

snap_logoThat’s right. The menu. One menu for the seven days.

Two major factors contribute to this. First, I am not terribly creative in the kitchen. Second, it made shopping easier.

That said, here is the menu:

Breakfast

  • One egg
  • Three slices of turkey bacon
  • An English muffin (for 6 days – a decision lies ahead on Saturday)

Lunch

  • Two peanut butter sandwiches

Dinner

  • About three ounces of ground turkey (one 20 ounce package divided into seven servings)
  • 1/2 cup of black beans
  • One slice of American cheese
  • 2/3 of a cup of low sodium spicy V-8

That will leave me five eggs and 9 slices of cheese to add over the week.

Water will be the beverage – beyond the V-8

This is not a balanced diet. I know that. I recognize many of the issues with it.

The amount of money to spend imposes limits, but I could also consider nutritional factors more carefully. That I do not have to do so for a week is yet another privilege.

See you along the Trail.

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SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge day 1: privilege

snap_logoI recognize that the SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge is an exercise. In no way does it truly mirror the experience of my sisters and brothers for whom poverty is a daily reality.

Hopefully it may make me a little more aware of that reality. It may lead to conversations about why people are poor. It may result in reflections on the folly of cutting SNAP benefits, further shredding the safety net. It may encourage advocacy to address the cuts.

But I have privileges that most people who use food stamps regularly do not have. I mentioned several of them in my first post on the Challenge. Even as I wrote those words, I knew that I would encounter other privileges during the course of this week.

I had not expected to do so by 9:10 AM on the Challenge’s first day.

I was scheduled to preach at the First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone. This involved taking the 1 Train to Penn Station and then taking the Long Island Railroad to the Murray Hill Station.  Not everyone could afford to do that, I realized before the day began. That was not the privilege that surprised me.

I played around on the computer (which not everyone has) for too long and found myself running late. I quickly chose to take a cab.  I could do that because I have the financial resources to do so – resources that others do not have.

That’s not really I learning. I knew that people with limited incomes face challenges that I do not. It’s a reminder of something I already know. And it’s

There will be more.

See you along the Trail.

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SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge: shopping

snap_logoI purchased the food for my week on the SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge. I used $33.55 of a $34.40 budget.

Ten early observations:

  1. In no way does this match the reality of people who live day after day, week after week, month after month, on low incomes. This is a controlled exercise and witness. Hopefully it will allow me to develop a deeper understanding of the realities faced by my brothers and sisters and of the privileges that I have.
  2. I have a safe place to live. access to a well-functioning refrigerator, freezer, and stove. I have more cooking utensils, pots, and pans that I know how to use.
  3. I do not have to worry about juggling my food expenses with other expenses.
  4. Shopping took far longer than usual. I paid much closer attention to price while trying to take nutritional data into account.
  5. I will eat essentially the same menu every day during the week. That is a function  of my lack of imagination in the kitchen but also the reality of the costs. Food is cheaper in bulk. But when I spent $8.00 on ground turkey, I did not have funds to buy the turkey filet I considered. The ground turkey will make 7 meals.
  6. Looking at the nutritional value, I will consume more carbohydrates and fat than I usually do. In part, that is because I try to restrict carbs and fats. It is also the case, as I suspected, that less expensive foods have more fats and carbs.
  7. There will not be many fruits and vegetables. Several factors enter here. Cost. Where I shopped. I did not go to a farmers’ market. My preferences also played a role. Recognizing the environmental impact does have me wondering about reducing my consumption of meat. That is something I need to consider in the future.
  8. There will be no caffeine unless I find coffee in situations where people who use food stamps can also freely access the coffee. That has me wondering – we have coffee on at the office. Anyone who comes in is allowed to drink the coffee. But how likely are people who use food stamps able to get to our office. I have to work this through some more before Monday.
  9.  Preparing for the challenge has reminded me of how much food and eating is involved in my work. I have already had to reschedule two meetings so they did not involve meals. That’s a luxury that many of my sisters and brothers do not have.
  10. There will be much to learn during this week. I hope I am wise enough and open enough to learn.

See you along the Trail.

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Will you share?

Some squirrels find all sorts of things to eat in New York.

This one has not – at least not at the time of this photo.

Although it seemed like the squirrel expected to receive something.

See you along the Trail

The photo was taken in Central Park on 24 November 2012.

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Perspective 2

A while back, when tempted to whine about the heat, I reflected on perspective with the help of some friends. Today, while touring the United Nations headquarters with a group from China I saw a t-shirt that further deepens my perspective on the challenges of life – the real challenges of life. The t-shirt hangs on the display about displacement – hangs there every day – hangs there every time I accompany a group on a tour. I see it every time. Today, though it spoke to me with a power not present before.

The photo lacks in quality – next time I will bring a better camera – but it conveys the message.

May all who share such hopes have them realized.

May I help answer these hopes of my sisters and brothers.

See you along the Trail.

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Two weeks in January 2012

I had the privilege to spend the last two weeks with a January Term Doctor of Ministry class that met at the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations – my employer. Mark Douglas of Columbia Theological Seminary led the class as it considered the Environment and Ecumene.

Class participants included Elizabeth Adams, Katie Preston, Carol Underwood, and John Weems. My colleague, Ryan Smith, helped coordinate and lead the class. Ricky Velez-Negron, our office manager, provided wonderful hospitality and organizational support; she also took the picture of the class beside the Isaiah Wall. Volunteers Peng Leong, from First Chinese Presbyterian Church, and Grace Bickers, Columbia University student, joined us for a number of the sessions.

Speakers came from ministries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), UN programs and our colleagues and friends from the UN NGO community.

The content included the UN and environmental concerns to climate change, land and water, women and the environment, children and the environment, indigenous peoples and the environment, food and hunger and the environment, conflict and the environment, and more.

The class attended a policy lunch on climate change and agriculture sponsored by the NGO Working Group on Food and Hunger. The class also attended a meeting of the Sustainable Development Working Group of the Conference of NGOs.

On Thursday, January 12, class members led worship at the Church Center for the United Nations.

Representatives of First Chinese Presbyterian Church, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, Huguenot Memorial Church, Old Bergen Church, and the Presbyterian Church of the Mountain joined the class on Thursday, January 19 for conversations about how congregations can care for creation. Rebecca Barnes-Davies, PC(USA) associate for Environmental Ministries helped facilitate the discussion.

Worship ended the class. We gathered in the Tillman Chapel of the Church Center for the United Nations and walked to the Isaiah Wall for closing prayers. After quick goodbyes, class members returned to their homes with new visions for ministry.

Gifts to the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations make possible the class.

I look forward to 2014 when another group will gather for another class on another topic.

See you along the Trail.

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C is for Chile

Found in many places,

often appearing in the food,

chile spices life at Ghost Ranch.

13 July 2011

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Why I like New York 3 – street food

This was taken during a Broadway street fair on October 9. With a crisp, coolness in the air, it seemed good to post now before the snow flies. Whether in restaurants or on the street, one finds an incredible diversity of food in New York. Some places offer many different options all by themselves.

See you along the Trail.

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